Ubisoft’s big open-world racing game The Crew has been followed up. From The Crew 2 you expect it to be even more beautiful and above all better than its predecessor, but that is a bit disappointing, according to Perry Rodenrijs and Marnix Suilen.
Perry : We are back again, the follow-up on The Crew is a fact and Marnix and I are invited to the party! I did not like the previous game, but certainly not bad and I also have to admit that I was interested when Ubisoft showed the trailer on the E3 of 2017. But then there is that beta and I did not quite like it. I was still hoping for some keys under the bonnet, but that hope seems to be in vain because apart from a bulk of content, I notice quite little difference in the first hours of this great adventure in miniature America.
The game has remained the same in terms of setting and that is certainly a plus, but the skinny story of part one has been exchanged for something completely different and maybe you can tell something about it Marnix?
Marnix : The is 2018 so everything should and should have to do with social media, as in The Crew 2. It’s all about getting as many followers as possible. You do that by winning races and getting stunts. Besides being completely uninspiring, it is also meant to be deadly serious. If it was meant as a parody of reality it could have been fun. Now almost every sentence that is spoken is one too many.
Anyway, it’s a racing game, of course, so if it’s just driving, right?
On land at sea and in the air
Well, the cars do not drive for a meter. That in the beginning it still takes some getting used to, fine, but even after hours of playing, I still do not get a nice bend. In my opinion that is not a matter of realism versus arcade either, there are plenty of racing games of both kind that send wonderfully, such as Dirt Rally or Forza Horizon . What about you Perry?
Perry : I notice that Ubisoft with The Crew 2 is still searching for a fine control. I did not think the previous part was the most sublime race experience and it seems sad that this sequel does not deviate from the set course. The controls and physics feel incredibly syrupy so you do not really have that feeling of control. If we then do the comparison game, a Need For Speed or Burnout does much better in this area. You do not play such a game because they feel so damn realistically. No, I play an arcade racer because I want to drift meters with full nitro or carry out empty jumps. Now it is in The Crew 2 but it does not matter to me at all because it feels so drowsy. Had then introduced a damage model in terms of credibility. Or better yet, do not worry that I can easily bump away other road users but come to a standstill when I hit a tree. What do you want Ubisoft?
Something that we obviously can not ignore is the addition of several vehicles. The racing and stunts in this iteration are not limited to only cars but also boats and airplanes. We also understand that there will be hovercrafts and other additions later, but for our review we limit ourselves to the first three options for the sake of time. The boat boating did not quite charm us, the steering was viscous and the races did not do much with us.
Flying on the other hand is a different matter, it requires some practice but once you have mastered, the events where you have to do stunts in a row are very funny. In terms of comparison material, we have put enough flight hours into other Ubisoft games to be able to state that this is a mustache in terms of control. But there is a danger that boredom comes into play when you decide to do a couple of similar events in a row as the set-up does not really change.
Marnix : The other vehicles are indeed better than the cars. Especially the flying is fine for me, and with the boats I also had quite few problems. But then there is the question for which you do it all. You can freely explore the world and listen to the (moderate) radio, but of course you want to have some challenge. The missions are unfortunately all quite simple: scoring races and some points with stunts. Then, yes, get loot with which you can upgrade your vehicle a bit – to play the same kind of missions again.
Perry : I really feel that The Crew 2 is struggling with an identity crisis. On the one hand we have the misplaced social media campaign that challenges me as a player to hang out the daredevil, but if I want to do that then I do not really get that typical adrenaline rush that I find in other equivalent titles. An example of this are, for example, the trees. Ram with 170 kilometers per hour another road user, dirt container, traffic sign or other random object and these fly over you or even disappear. But do not dare to hit a tree at the same speed. These are made of titanium because my car stands still time after time. Even crazier is that my car comes from here without a scratch. Had then introduced a damage model so that I at least felt something of my terrible attack on the poor tree that happened to be in the way on the trail. believe me, those bad trees do too often to my liking.
Marnix : There is no damage model at all. That will undoubtedly be a consequence of the contracts with the car brands, Ferrari wants their cars naturally only beautiful looking in the game. But the result is that this also makes the – already bad race experience – deadly boring. There are no consequences whatsoever against something, other than that you are standing still and have to get back on speed, but broken tires or something like that is not there.
And that also applies to sailing and flying. Fly safely against the trees, it does not matter much. Or even better: for a game that has a constant collection of followers by showing ‘legendary badassdom’ it is with a speedboat of a meter-high waterfall still suffering than you would think possible.
Perry : Regardless of this, you can also earn loot in this game by playing events, or playing again. This lot consists of upgrades that improve the statistics of your current vehicle somewhat. It looks suspiciously like the Speed Cards set-up of Need For Speed: Payback as you will also encounter events that the current vehicle is not fast enough for. On the other hand, I did not come across a slot machine or other games, so you do not have to be afraid of that. However grinding should be your thing, because you can count on a better vehicle for the more difficult events.
You can of course also choose to buy new cars with your hard earned in game currency or in the garage to adjust the car yourself. In my experience the latter did not do very much with the experience and the changes were hardly noticeable. You can also optically adjust the vehicle in the garage – or better said house – by buying some new parts or equipping the vehicle with a lick of paint and / or stickers. Make sure the options are represented, but it adds little for us if the game does not play well.
I close The Crew 2 with a double feeling. The big part of the game world gives a false sense of freedom because the madness feels limited enough. It certainly does not look bad and that makes it even more annoying. Because it could have done so much better! Also the control and the social media campaign do not work for me. Ubisoft has promised to add more content and perhaps that they can bring the game to full advantage. However, I would have preferred that the game was more complete at the moment of publication and that I knew how to serve a better experience as a player. I find it annoying, but I prefer to dive back to the 10 year old Burnout Paradise City for a fun arcade racing experience. #NotifiedKansUbisoft.
Marnix : Ubisoft indeed likes to support their games for a long time, and there is also no danger of improving a game in the time after the release. However, they have to come a long way at The Crew 2. With some extra content only, they will not make it to this game.